What Causes Eating Disorders?

Other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED) like orthorexia, body dysmorphia, exercise compulsion and diabulimia result from a combination of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors.

Biological causes

The following biological factors can either raise or lower one's risk of developing an eating disorder:

  • Genetics
  • A family history of eating disorders
  • Temperament
  • The neurobiology that influences hunger and satiety cues

Psychological causes

A number of life experiences may influence whether an individual develops an eating disorder during their lifetime:

  • Traumatic experiences
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression, anxiety, stress
  • A perceived loss of control over one's life
  • Feelings of inadequacy or loneliness
  • Challenges with developmental milestones
  • Difficulties with changes and transitions

Sociocultural causes

Society norms and the media may contribute to the development of eating disorders for some individuals in a number of ways:

  • Pervasive messaging that thin (or muscular) bodies are the ideal
  • Normalizing/encouraging diet culture (including trends like elimination diets, juice cleanses, veganism, etc.)
  • Widespread encouragement of weight loss to support a “healthy” lifestyle
  • Cultural rhetoric around obesity being caused by laziness and a lack of willpower

There is help for every type of eating disorder

With the right care, those suffering from eating disorders, excessive exercise compulsions, or body image issues can experience full recovery. Specialized, professional treatment is available and can be tailored for all individuals.

Find out how Eating Recovery Center can help you or your loved one. Call us at 877-825-8584 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Masters-level clinicians.

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